A Comparison Of the Top Small SUVs of 2021

SUV's Compared

Compact and small SUVs have really picked up steam over the last couple of years. Drivers love having the car-like handling that comes with a crossover but also enjoy the spacious cabin and higher seating level that you expect with an SUV.

On the top of every wish list falls three main contenders for the best overall small SUV in 2021: Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CX-5. These three SUVs are constantly praised for their ability and value.

If you’re having a hard time deciding which of these is the best option for you, take some time to see how they compare. Here’s everything you need to know:

Mazda CX-5


The Mazda CX-5 is one of those SUVs that attracts people with its great looks and keeps them because of its versatility. With an athletic build and responsive handling, drivers love taking on the sharpest curves in the city and the wide-open lanes on the highway.

Base Price



The CX-5 comes in seven distinct trims: Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Carbon Edition Turbo, and the Grand Touring Reserve.


  • Standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine: 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque
  • Available 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine: 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque
  • Standard six-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard front-wheel-drive
  • Available all-wheel-drive
  • EPA-estimated 25 mpg city, 31 mpg highway

Noteworthy Available Features

  • Led Headlights
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather upholstery
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Keyless entry
  • Heated/Ventilated front seats, heated mirrors, heated steering wheel, and rear air vents
  • Sunroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Premium Bose audio system with ten-speaker
  • Navigation system

Safety and Driver-Assist

  • Standard Forward collision mitigation
  • Standard Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Standard Lane departure mitigation
  • Standard Adaptive cruise control
  • Parking sensors
  • Rear automatic braking

Toyota RAV4


As one of the best-selling SUVs on the market today, Toyota must be doing something right with its RAV4. With plenty of passenger/cargo space, a smooth ride, and a long-standing reputation for quality and value, the RAV4 is an easy choice for the top of your list.

Base Price



With six powerful trim levels, you’re sure to find the RAV4 that perfect for your family: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited.




  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine: 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque
  • Eight-speed transmission
  • Standard front-wheel-drive
  • Available all-wheel-drive
  • EPA-estimated 35 mpg highway


Noteworthy Available Features

  • LED Headlights
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Sunroof or panoramic sunroof
  • Hill descent control, all-terrain tires, and raised suspension
  • Navigation system
  • Wireless charging pads
  • Heated/Ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel
  • Premium JBL audio system with 11 speakers

Safety and Driver-Assist

  • Standard forward-collision mitigation
  • Standard adaptive cruise control
  • Standard lane-keeping system
  • Automatic high beams
  • Traffic sign reader
  • Blind-spot monitor
  • Surround-view camera

Honda CR-V


Drivers love the Honda CV-V, mainly because it’s a jack-of-all-trades. It drives like a dream, looks like a fantasy, and has all of the options you hope to find in a spacious and powerful SUV. From packing for a cross-country road trip to keeping up the latest tech, the CR-V won’t disappoint.

Base Price



The CR-V is Honda’s flagship SUV and comes in four amazing trims: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring.


  • Standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine: 190 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque
  • Standard all-wheel-drive
  • Continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission
  • EPA estimated 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway

Noteworthy Available Feature

  • Tinted rear windows
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Power liftgate
  • Leather upholstery
  • LED headlights
  • Navigation system
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Audio system with up to nine speakers

Safety and Driver-Assist

  • Standard forward-collision warning
  • Standard Lane departure warning
  • Standard Collision mitigation braking
  • Standard Lane keeping assist
  • Standard Adaptive cruise control
  • Standard Automatic high beams
  • A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert

Which One Feels Right To You?

With so many similarities between these amazing SUVs, it really comes down to personal preference. If you want a muscular engine, The CX-5 offers tons of horsepower and torque. If safety features are critical to you, Honda’s Safety Sense is hard to beat. If you plan on hitting off-road terrain, explore the RAV4. There’s a reason that these three SUVs come up again and again as the top-selling crossovers on the road. Compare the features that are most important to you and stop by your local dealer for a close-up look. You won’t be disappointed.

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